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Coffs Coast Advocate 14 May 2014

Bellingen rural refugee group active again

UNITED: Members of Bellingen Rural Australians For Refugees.
UNITED: Members of Bellingen Rural Australians For Refugees.
THE controversy surrounding the Manus Island Detention Centre has led to the rebirth of Rural Australians for Refugees (RAFR) in Bellingen.
The Bellingen RAFR group was formed in 2001 following an exhibition of refugee art and a forum at the Bellingen Global Carnival, with 20 local residents meeting to discuss what they could do to change what they overwhelmingly believed to be a moral problem driven by party politics and politicians.
The group met on a weekly basis and adhered to a four-point strategy consisting of education, support/fundraising, networking and political lobbying as the foundation of all their activities.
Two Bellingen representatives went on to join the Freedom Bus on its first journey to Australia's detention centres at Villawood, Maribyrnong, Woomera, Perth, Port Hedland and Curtin.
A spokesperson said with many people now alarmed by the death of Reza Berati on Manus Island while seeking asylum, the group was meeting again with renewed energy and new members.
The group will be attending local markets to present the facts to the local community.

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